Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant would have needed the game of his life to secure his fourth consecutive NBA scoring title on Wednesday, but he has instead decided to concede the race to New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.
According to Durant on Instagram, he will sit out the Thunder's regular-season finale against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Durant's season average sits at 28.1 points per game, while Anthony's late-season outburst puts him at 28.7 points per contest. Anthony will be sitting out the Knicks' final game as well, according to the team's public relations Twitter account, so his first career NBA scoring title is now assured.
Durant would have needed 70 points to overtake Melo, so his pursuit was likely futile anyway, but it certainly takes away some of the drama that fans were hoping for on the regular season's final night.
With the Thunder already locked in as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, there is little chance that head coach Scott Brooks would have played Durant more than a few minutes had he decided to suit up.
As impressive as four straight scoring titles would have been, the real goal is an NBA Championship.
The Knicks are assured of the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference as well behind the Miami Heat. Essentially every player on the team has dealt with an injury at some point this season, including Anthony. With that in mind, Melo probably wouldn’t have played regardless of his scoring-race status.
If nothing else, Anthony has to feel good about winning the scoring title as he was named the NBA's most overpaid player by Tom Van Riper of Forbes earlier in the month. His $19.4 million-per-year salary is steep; however, Carmelo proved his worth this season.
Durant has conceded the scoring battle to Anthony, but the war is far from over.
Oklahoma City is favored to reach the NBA Finals in the West, while the Knicks can do the same in the East if they're able to upend the Heat. If that comes to fruition, then we may find out once and for all who the better scorer truly is.
Until then, this round goes to Melo.
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